John Fiske Papers: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Huntington Staff, circa 1955; encoded with supplementary revision by Diann Benti in August 2017.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2017
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: John Fiske Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1850-1901
Collection Number: mssFK 1-1661, mssHM 7227-7231, mssHM 18866--18895, mssHM 24739-24877
Creator: Fiske, John, 1842-1901.
Extent: 1,661 pieces in 15 boxes + 25 volumes and 4 cases
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains the papers and correspondence of American philosopher and historian John Fiske (1842-1902). Included are manuscripts and proof sheets of his books, articles, lectures and other works on history, theology, and education, his literary works, musical compositions, and some documents. The professional and personal correspondence includes letters from Fiske to his wife, family, and colleagues; there are also letters to Fiske's step-father E. W. Stoughton (1818-1882).
Language: English.

Access

Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. John Fiske Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Purchased from Godspeed in the 1920s and from Mrs Otis D. Fisk, 1955.

Related Materials in the Huntington Library

Removed or Separated Material

Some letters to Fiske were cataloged separately as part of the Huntington's Literary File, including:
  • Charles Darwin letters to Fiske, 1871-1880 (HM 8260-2869)
  • Holmes, Oliver Wendell. Letter to John Fiske. 1897 October 3 (HM 8270)
  • J.B. Millet Co. (HM 7057-7060)
  • Lowell, James Russell. Letter to John Fiske. 1888 January 3 (HM 5382)
  • Herbert Spencer (HM 13718-13760) includes: Fiske, John. Herbert Spencer's request to religion : [an address at a farewell banquet to Spencer] (HM 13759) and Fiske, John. "Precisely the doctrine held and taught by Mr. Spencer," 1884 August 24. (HM 13760)

Biographical Note

John Fiske (1842-1901) was an American philosopher and historian. He was born Edmund Fiske Greene in Connecticut in 1842. He later assumed his maternal great-grandfather's surname Fiske. He graduated from Harvard College in 1863 and Harvard Law School in 1865. He began his career as author by publishing his first article in 1861 in the National Quarterly Review. After that he was a frequent contributor to American and British periodicals. He was a lecturer at Harvard University, Washington University and other schools. He also taught history. Fiske also became a supporter of Charles Darwin and the doctrine of evolution. Fiske published several books including The Discovery of America (1892). He died in Massachusetts in 1901. He was married to Abby Morgan and they had six children: Maud, Ralph, Ethel, Harold, Clarence, and Herbert.
Fiske's mother Mary Greene married Edwin W. Stoughton in 1852 after the death of John's father Edmund Brewster Green. Edwin W. Stoughton was a lawyer in New York and U.S. minister to Russia from 1878 to 1879.

Scope and Content

This collection contains papers and correspondence of John Fiske. Included are manuscripts and proof sheets of his books, articles, lectures and other works on history, theology, and education, his literary works, musical compositions, and some documents. The professional and personal correspondence includes letters from Fiske to his wife Abby Morgan Fiske, mother Mary Fiske Bound Green Stoughton, Henry Holt, Henry A. Richmond, James Grant Wilson, and others. There are also letters to Fiske's step-father E. W. Stoughton.
Recipients of 6 or more letters from John Fiske:
  • Brooks, James Willson (14 items)
  • Brooks, Martha Willson (12 items)
  • Fiske, Abby Morgan (Brooks) (436 items)
  • Gilbert, Shepherd D. (42 items)
  • Ginn & Co. (35 items)
  • Green, James (7 items)
  • Holt, Henry (39 items)
  • Lewis, Polly (Fisk) Bound (16 items)
  • Richmond, Henry A. (41 items)
  • Roberts, George Litch (26 items)
  • Spencer, Hebrert (6 items)
  • Stoughton, Edwin Wallace (8 items)
  • Stoughton, Mary Fisk (Bound) Green (599 items)
  • Wilcox, Lizzie (15 items)
  • Wilson, James Grant (88 items)
HM 18874-18880, HM 18882-18883, HM 18885-18892, and HM 24781-24877 have the bookplate of William Bixby; HM 18881 has a sticker on the inside cover: "W. T. Newton, No. 571"; HM 18884 has the bookplate of William F. Gable

Arrangement

Organized in the following manner: 1) Bound volumes, and 2) Boxed and cased Materials. The correspondence is arranged chronologically. The collection includes several items with call numbers beginning with HM.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Subjects

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 -- Correspondence.
Fiske, John, 1842-1901 -- Archives.
Historians -- United States -- Archives.
Lecturers -- United States -- Archives.
Philosophers -- United States -- Archives.
United States -- History.
United States -- Intellectual life -- 19th century -- Sources.

Forms/Genres

Lectures -- United States -- 19th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century.
Manuscripts -- United States -- 19th century.
Proofs (derivative objects) -- United States.
Personal papers -- United States -- 19th century.
Professional papers -- United States -- 19th century.

Additional Contributors

Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.
Fiske, Abby Morgan, recipient.
Holt, Henry, 1840-1926, recipient.
Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1825-1895.
Richmond, Henry Augustus, 1840-1913, recipient.
Spencer, Herbert, 1820-1903.
Stoughton, E. W. (Edwin Wallace), 1818-1882, recipient.
Stoughton, Mary Fiske Bound Green, recipient.
Wilson, James Grant, 1832-1914, recipient.


Collection Contents

 

Bound volumes

 

Manuscripts

 

American Political Ideas viewed from the standpoint of universal history [3 lectures]. 1885 HM 18874

 

American Revolution: Part One (pages 1-550) [Volume I in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1891 HM 18875 vol. 1

 

American Revolution: Part Two (pages 551-end) [Volume II in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1891 HM 18875 vol. 2

 

Autobiographical Notes. [1884] HM 18876

 

B. Franklin : [a biographical sketch]. Approximately 1887 HM 18882

 

The Beginnings of New England [Volume V in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1889 HM 18877

 

The Boston Tea Party : [a lecture]. Approximately 1894 HM 18878

 

Civil Government in the United States [Volume XI in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1890 HM 18879

 

The Dutch and Quaker Colonies: Part One (pages 1-258) [1 of 2 volumes: Volume XIV in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1899 HM 18880 vol. 1

 

The Dutch and Quaker Colonies: Part Two (pages 259-end) [2 of 2 volumes: Volume XV in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1899 HM 18880 vol. 2

 

Essays on a Liberal Education. Edited by Rev. F. W. Farrar ... London, 1867 [reviewed by John Fiske for the North American Review. [1868] HM 18884

 

Europe before the Arrival of Man : [an article]. 1882 HM 18881

 

History of the United States [Volume XII in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. Approximately 1893 HM 18883

 

John Tyndall : [a biographical sketch]. 1894 HM 18885

 

The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War [Volume IV in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1900 HM 18886

 

New France and New England [1 volume: Volume XIII in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1901 HM 18889

 

Old Virginia and her Neighbors [Volumes XVI-XVII in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1897 HM 18890

 

Preface to Appleton's Encyclopaedia of American Biography. HM 18873

 

Scenes and Characters in American History: Part One [1 of 2 volumes: Volume VI in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. HM 18891

Contents: Charles Francis Adams; John Adams; John Quincy Adams; Samuel Adams; Henry Lee of Massachusetts, an article by Lee's son; Disasters of 1780; Benedict Arnold; Verrazano & Hudson; Penn's Holy Experiment; Thomas Jefferson; and Alexander Hamilton.
 

Scenes and Characters in American History: Part Two ( [2 of 2 volumes: Volume VII in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. HM 18891

Contents: James Madison; Andrew Jackson; "Tippecanoe, and Tyler Too"; Daniel Webster; Charles Lee; and "Old & New Ways of treating History."
 

Schubert : [a biographical sketch] [1 volume; cover title: "A Sketch on Franz Schubert"; ]. [1891?-1905] HM 18887

Bound with:
  • Fiske, John. An Evening with Schubert, St. Louis, 1893 March 6 [program of a recital]
  • Paine, John Knowles. [Memoir on Fiske's love of music]
  • Fiske, Abby Morgan (Brooks). Note on Fiske's sketch on Schubert, 1905
 

Thomas Hutchinson, last Royal Governor of Massachusetts : [a biographical sketch/lecture]. Approximately 1888 HM 18888

 

The War for Independence [1 volume: Volume III in bound set "Original MSS. Histories and Essays by John Fiske"]. 1889 HM 18892

 

Correspondence

 

Letters from John Fiske to Shepard Devereux Gilbert [38 letters and 4 postcards]. 1863-1898 HM 24739-24780

 

Letters of John Fiske as joint editor of Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography. 1886-1888 HM 24781-24877

97 letters. 88 letters are addressed to James Grant Wilson, editor, 4 to Rossiter Johnson, and 3 to J. W. Weidemeyer. The collection also contains one letter each from Octavius B. Frothingham and Alice A. Gray to Fiske.
 

Boxed materials

 

Correspondence

Box 1

1850-1859

Box 2

1860-1862

Box 3

1863-1864

Box 4

1865-1868

Box 5

1869-1872

Box 6

1873-1875

Box 7

1876-1878

Box 8

1879

Box 9

1880-1882+

Box 10

1883-1886

Box 11

1887-1891

Box 12

1892-1893

Box 13

1896-1901

Note

Includes HM 7231 (Letter from Fiske to J. B. Millet Co., 1898 November 7).
Case

Fiske, John. Letters to Henry Holt, approximately 1868-1896. HM 24878-24916

Case

Fiske, John. Letters to Henry A. Richmond, 1881-1899. HM 24917-24957

Case

Letters from John Fiske to Edwin Ginn and Ginn & Co. [35 letters and one duplicate) 1886-1888 HM 25385-25420

Case

Fiske-Thomas Henry Huxley correspondence. HM 13243-13257

 

Manuscripts, documents, and ephemera

Box 14

Manuscripts and documents (unbound)

This box contains FK 1278-1289, HM 7227-7230, HM 18866-18872; and HM 18892-18895.
 

[Fiske's itinerary for his lecture course in the Spring of 1892]. [1892 January] FK 1278

 

"The Genesis of Language" [a critical comment on the essay, by the author]. 1885 August 2 FK 1279

 

To the Middleton Musical Association [receipted bill]. 1858 October 12 FK 1280

 

Priced lists of histories ... [1858] FK 1281

 

Three lists of books ... [1859] FK 1282

 

Grand Beethoven night ... [program of music]. 1880 December 18 FK 1283

 

The Idea of God : Notes for the first draft, written in the Little Kitchen at Petersham. [1885 after July 12] FK 1284

 

[Itemized statement and summary of debts]. 1885 December 22 FK 1285

 

[Summer seasons at Petersham from 1868 to 1885]. 1885 FK 1286

 

Whereabouts of J. F., April 9 to May 7 : [a list of addresses for] Letters and Telegrams. [1900] FK 1287

 

The Genesis of Language. [1869] FK 1288

 

Mass in B Minor : a memorandum ... in pencil. Approximately 1873 FK 1289

 

[Examination paper for admission to the Massachusetts Bar]. 1864 HM 7227

 

Are we Celts or Teutons [sections VII and VIII only]. 1869 HM 7228

 

"Specifications for Carpenter's Work ..." [for E. W. Stoughton's house on Berkeley Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, unbound]. 1877 HM 7229

 

New England : [article drawn from Fiske's The Beginning of New England]. Approximately 1889 HM 7230

 

To John Fiske, L.L.D. an Acrostic, but not by a Cross Stick ... 1897 February 12 HM 18866

 

A Candid Theologian. To the Editor of the Christian Union : [a letter]. 1873 HM 18867

 

John Fiske's miscellaneous receipts & expenses. Jan. 1886. 1886 HM 18868

 

[Plat showing six lots on Berkeley Place, Cambridge, Massachusetts, giving the names of owners and footage for each]. Approximately 1892 HM 18869

 

The Peasant Girl and the Fairy : [a story for children]. Approximately 1884 HM 18870

 

Spain and France in the New World : [a lecture delivered in Boston, October 21, 1892 (incomplete)]. Approximately 1892 HM 18871

 

Cosmic Philosophy ... 1901 April 27 HM 18872

 

Mass in B Minor : [the score and vocal parts]. 1871 December-1873 June HM 18893 a-b

 

Il Metauro: a sonata for the organ or pianoforte. [Approximately 1857] HM 18894

 

Shront: an Opera. 1857 HM 18895

Box 15

Ephemera

This box contains miscellaneous ephemera including fragments of Fiske writings, envelopes, visiting cards and other cards, copies of manuscripts and correspondence (for which the originals are held by the Huntington Library), newspaper clippings, including those related to the marriage of President Grover Cleveland, etc., 1887, Cleveland and the tariff, 1888, and the protective tariff, and newspaper clippings removed from HM 555, HM 560, HM 8260-8270, HM 13181, HM 13241-13256, and HM 13718-13758.